Can War Really Lead to Peace?

Written by Tabby Biddle

I was recently invited to attend Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots Day of Peace event here in Los Angeles in Griffith Park coming up on September 21. This day will commemorate the United Nations International Day of Peace that was established in 1981 to highlight efforts to end conflict and promote peace around the world. On this day there is actually an official “Global Ceasefire.” After watching the Republican Convention a couple of weeks ago on television and seeing so many military families present, I questioned as I always do — do people really think that war can lead to peace?

Since I was a child I have always questioned the purpose of war and still to this day do not believe that it is helpful and certainly do not believe that it can bring peace. Some people would call me naive and question me about how I would “protect” my country. I didn’t necessarily always have an answer, but did know in my heart and common sense intellect that war would only breed more war and the cycle would continue.

So I was thrilled to hear about the Peace Intention Experiment coming up on September 14. Lynn McTaggart, internationally recognized spokeswoman on the science of spirituality and award-winning author, is working with scientists to test the power of group intention to lower violence in areas experiencing high levels of conflict and war-torn areas around the world. In other words, they are embarking on scientific studies to determine whether “group mind” has the power to increase peace in our physical world.

On this same note, I heard that last Saturday, thousands of people gathered in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco to practice yoga in the name of peace. Later, thousands more came to add to the peace celebration and enjoyed the Power to the Peaceful Festival which is put on annually by yogi, musician and peace activist Michael Franti.

Events like these and the International Day of Peace give me great hope that with more and more of us meditating, praying, holding peace gatherings, peace concerts and so forth all over the world we can make progress.

At the same time that I was feeling so thrilled about the peace events, I came across a short article in LA Yoga magazine that made me question war and weaponry once again. The article was about the Hindu Goddess Durga. Durga is known as a warrioress who rides upon a tiger (sometimes a lion), carrying weapons and wearing a compassionate smile. It is said that Durga uses her power to defend the highest truths and that at times of adversity, her strength is called upon to overcome negative influences, destroy evil and restore peace! As you know, I am a big fan of goddesses and I know it is usually best not to translate the stories of the Hindu Goddesses literally, but I couldn’t help question, “do we really need weapons to destroy evil?” I still think ‘no’.

Do you think living in a world without wars is possible?

If so, what are the ways that you think we can achieve this?

If not, why not?


Tabby Biddle is a writer and editor specializing in helping women entrepreneurs and emerging authors get their message out. Additionally she is the founder of Lotus Blossom Style, a yoga lifestyle company created to support women in their personal transformation. She lives in Santa Monica, CA.


8 thoughts on “Can War Really Lead to Peace?

  1. Such a great inquiry, Tabby; particularly the day after the September 11 remembrances. My “knee-jerk” reaction (always beware that!) is “of course not! War results in domination, not true peace. War merel “puts a lid on it.” Then I remember the Mahabarata/Bhagavad Gita and Arjuna, the reluctant warrior and Arjuna’s discussion with Lord Krishna about the dharma/duty of a warrior. I’m still have my “opinion,” but it’s an ancient question aptly considered as we approach the election of a new president.

  2. it is called human nature.
    we must accept our faults, learn how to cope with them, and realize that some ideals, just as perfection, will never be obtained.
    to erase war would be to expect the human creature to erase part of who they are.
    not necessarily an easy nor appropriate ambition.

  3. war is a reflection of lack of consciousness–individual and collective. if we all truly knew we were connected to everything else we would never want to harm, much less annihilate. connie referred to the bhagavad gita…that came to my mind too while reading your blog post. it was only after arjuna saw Krishna in His divine form that arjuna could act. (by the way, the gita was gandhi’s only reading material when he was in prison. he too struggled with this very issue, so we’re in great company!)

    so how can we use Durga to raise consciousness? as i thought about Her image, which i adore, i realized that i don’t “see” the sword, the mace, the discus, etc. as implements of destruction. they are symbols. (let us remember that the finger poiniting to the moon is not the moon!) in my mind, after reading your post, i placed in each of Her hands notes that read “meditation”, “eating mindfully”, “stillness”, “laughter”, “body-caring”, “kindness”, “generosity”, “love of the Divine”, truthfulness”, “awareness”.

    choose ten of your own implements of consciousness and see what happens! i would love to know your experience!


  4. This is a tricky question, Tabby! How do we look upon genocide, and whether we should intervene? This was highly debated in the European Union when Serbia was slaughtering Muslims in the Balkans. An intervention was finally made, according to many, too late. And that is still nothing compared with the genocide that took place in Rwanda, and the one that is still ongoing in Darfur. What is right, and just here? How would the world have looked like if the Nazis would have been left undefeated? Would they have self-destructed eventually? Maybe…And is any form of self-defense acceptable? I believe that the essence of nature and the Universe is both good and evil, light and darkness. One can’t exist without the other, just like Shiva and Shakti, or Yin and Yang. The question is how we handle these two forces? I believe we have to become peaceful on the inside in order to create peace outside us. I believe that we are moving towards a higher consciousness collectively. And I also believe that we still have a lot to learn, both within ourselves, and as a collective, in order to get there.

  5. Wow! What powerful responses and reflections I have read so far from Connie, Felice and Lotta. I too have thought a lot about the Bhagavad Gita and Arjuna’s dilemma. I was always unsure about how I felt about Arjuna’s “duty” as a warrior. In fact, the first draft of this blog was about what it means to be a warrior. Perhaps I need to re-visit that topic. I like how Lotta talked about the essence of nature and Universe is both both an evil, light and darkness and that one can’t exist without the other — but the question is how we handle these two forces. In speaking more to Lotta’s response, there is a wonderful chant I sing that I learned from Wayne Morrisette (Alanis’ brother) and adapted a bit. “Om Narayana Shanti Om. Om Naryana Shant Om. When peace is on the inside, love is on the outside. When love is on the inside, peace is on the outside. Om Naryana Shanti Om.” It feels so beautiful to sing.
    Felice — I am going to try the 10 implement of consciousness in Durga’s hands. Love it!

  6. good and evil…
    not good vs evil-
    think- good vs evil= battle… (war).
    We must be at peace with our nature, then perhaps peace?
    denying our entire identity our complete selves lacks conviction in the true essence of what human means.

  7. i think of the line from “RENT”…

    “the opposite of war isn’t peace…IT’s CREATION!”

    …being an artists, that makes sense to me, let’s create the world and who we are in it.
    it’s an active thing.

    also agree that PEACE will come to the world one day…I hope for it, I feel it. I also see the wars that rage within me, and that makes me sad…if I can’t live peacefully with myself, how can I expect the world to stop hating and create peace and love.

    sometimes I feel hopeless…but I try to hold onto the vision of peace & creation.

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